NEW PALESTINE — Keith Hatfield is hoping the third time is a charm.
Hatfield was a starting senior first baseman on the 2003 Roncalli baseball team that lost 2-1 to New Palestine in 10 innings of the sectional championship game. The Dragons went on to a runner-up finish in the 3A state finals.
Now in his third year as his alma mater’s head coach, Hatfield took another loss to New Palestine, 5-4, on April 18.
Hatfield will meet his own personal McCoys again Saturday in the 4A semistate at Plainfield. The Rebels (22-8) will take on New Palestine (25-6) at 3:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to next weekend’s State Finals at Victory Field in Indianapolis against the No. 1 Lake Central (30-1)-No. 5 Zionsville (28-5) 4A semistate winner.
If Hatfield picks up an inaugural win over the Dragons, he knows it won’t come easily.
“New Pal, going back to when I played them in high school, they’ve always been a very disciplined team,” he said. “They don’t chase anything out of the zone, they really make you throw their pitch.
“So, going through the lineup from top to bottom, it doesn’t matter what their batting average is, everybody’s going to be a tough out.”